POWER OF 9: Howard White

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Howard White is a businessman with several companies. Top Choice, his apparel and promotional business enjoys steady support. It not only sells clothes, but creates promotional items for schools, businesses, and clubs. How about a fidget spinner in your high school's colors? White can do that.

9News saw him showing three high school seniors from the Big Buddy program how to craft a new product for a client. They are part of the Level Up program and have been partnered with White to learn how to have a successful career.

Courtney Harris says White is a fountain of information. "He's always like, even the littlest thing you can learn like a life lesson from it. He's really motivational in his speech," said Harris.

9News caught White speaking to the entire Level Up program membership on the same day they were set to dive into a job fair created just for them. White was like a coach rallying his team in the locker room before the big game. He joked with them about dating and how expectations are ramped up when you're an adult. "When you get out, they're gonna' be expecting something major because you should be working, " he said. "But in college, you can get away with that. Netflix and a pizza."

White appeals to teens, but really lays out the preparation needed for success in a job interview. He talks about how to greet the potential employer from the very first moment, with a good handshake. He says your hand should be open, your body language wide open as well, and to make eye contact.

"And then whoever is interviewing you, ask them how they got started in their job," he implores. "You know, ask how did you get started here? What do you like about it? What do you love about it? What do you dislike about it?"

It may look like you pale in comparison to other applicants he said, but make your impression stick by going the extra mile. "On your way home today, buy some thank you notes. Or if you have some at home? Write the notes out and thank the person for taking the time to come out here to interview you today. Because I'm gonna' guarantee you that most people are not gonna do a handwritten note to anybody."

White knows that students don't always immediately take his advice to heart, but he hopes it will eventually stick.

"I look at it like this when I'm mentoring. My job is to pour out. I can't force feed it to you, and it's like planting a seed. Some seeds don't grow immediately. Ya' know, some have a longer germination cycle, and that's the way the information you share with youth is. Maybe five years down the road, they're like, 'Man, I remember this old guy they had at Big Buddy and he said this.' And they use it."

Louisiana Honda Dealers, Capital Area United Way, and WAFB are proud to honor people like Howard White who have a positive impact to the Power of 9. They deserve the Power of 9 Award. To nominate someone, contact the Capital Area United Way.

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